Having already made a splash on the rather underappreciated WiiWare service, Curve Digital look to skim their success across the pond to the Nintendo eShop.
Hydroventure: Spin Cycle replaces the Wii Remote for the gyroscopic capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, players tilting the handheld left, right and upside down as they cascade pure-hearted Water Spirit Eddy across colourful locales.
Narrative plays a more prominent role in this sequel, providing background as to why you find yourself tasked with guiding Eddy on his newfound quest.
Having become so enamoured by the fantastical worlds within his beloved book, an ageing Wizard makes use of Rainbow Spirits that sit upon his potion shelf. These magical beings weave their way through its numerous pages, their power causing the illustrations to spring to life – much to the Wizard’s happiness.
Yet Goop, a more sinister substance on the potion shelf, becomes envious, knocking itself over and pouring onto the book where it traps and slowly drains the Rainbow Spirits’ power for itself. Eddy, showing grave concern, therefore sets out to neutralise the Goop and free the Rainbow Spirits from captivity.
And so your puddle-based adventure begins, Eddy making his way through illustrations of the book that themselves each exist as individual levels for your perusal.
As previously mentioned, control is entirely handled through tilting the Nintendo 3DS in all manner of directions. Whilst this was an initial concern due to the lack of alternate control schemes, Curve Studios have really taken it upon themselves to perfect its implementation to the point that not even the most unsavvy motion control enthusiast will find it hard to complain about the precision granted.
Varying your tilt angle affects Eddy’s speed, which proves necessary for puzzle-solving aspects that see you streaming your way along surfaces to gain momentum to traverse gaps, move between illustration panels, flick switches to unlock gates, and spurt yourself up to higher ledges.
As you progress, Eddy progresses past his basic water-based form and gains access to both ice and a cloud state. Whilst fluidic you can use Gather to ensure the puddle is kept together, which may then be used to cause explosions to knock boxes aside or break walls. As ice, it makes it easier to move around by sliding and enables you to handily stick yourself to surfaces for a few seconds. Whilst turning you into a cloud proves the most fun of the three: gusts of wind enabling you to move faster, whereas shooting lightning allows you to neutralise enemies or activate machinery.
Scattered throughout levels are Water Bubbles which once gathered fill Eddy’s water reserves, enabling you to replenish your health if you suffer damage from marauding Goop or leave any droplets behind. Goop themselves are placed in such a way that the player can easily be caught out, so taking care not to progress through levels too quickly becomes paramount.
A Five-Star Rating system entices replay value, scores awarded based upon remaining health, gathered Water Bubbles, and the time you’ve taken to save the level’s Rainbow Spirit. Hidden Puzzle Pieces also necessitate revisiting levels, the result of finding each allowing you to unlock additional Playrooms to further elongate your time with the game.
Hydroventure: Spin Cycle proves a radiant example of the creativity that now finds itself nestling amid the Nintendo eShop, and stands as a true testament to Curve Digital’s ability to strengthen and build upon the foundations laid by the WiiWare original.